How High Capacity Church Leaders Start Their Mornings with Carey Nieuwhof, Jenni Catron, Dan Reiland & Kadi Cole

How do you start your morning as a church leader?

What happens in the first hour of your day that sets up where the rest of your day goes?

Have you ever wondered how highly effective ministry leaders begin their mornings?

Today on the unSeminary podcast we dive deep with Carey Nieuwhof, Jenni Catron, Dan Reiland, and Kadi Cole on how they kick off their days, and how you can launch your days more effectively.

  • Carey Nieuwhof – Pastor, Author and Leadership Expert. // The night before, Carey pays attention to what his upcoming day will look like so he is aware of what he’ll need for the day ahead and how to manage his energy. This starts most importantly with examining how much sleep he’ll need to feel good and have the mental clarity to tackle the tasks ahead. He aims for 2-3 hours of deep sleep each night and pays attention to anything that could disrupt that time from eating a large meal late at night to exercising in the evening or having an early morning flight the next day (which he tries to avoid). Most mornings Carey doesn’t set an alarm, allowing his body to determine when he needs to wake up. Once he’s up, the first thing he does each day is have his devotional time, usually for thirty to sixty minutes. This sets the course for his day. He also does some gratitude journaling as well as writing out things that may be frustrating him at the time, which helps him work through these situations while seeking to be thankful in all things. From here Carey moves into his day to start creative work whether it’s book writing, sermon prep, creating blog posts or so on.
  • Jenni Catron – Leadership Expert and Founder of 4Sight Group. // Jenni’s morning routine is very important to her because she’s an introvert with a very extroverted job. Whether she’s meeting with clients or speaking at an event, her time in the morning sets the tone for the day and gives her the energy she needs for her work. It can be hard to fit everything in that she wants to do to prep for her morning, so Jenni gets up at 5am and spends about an hour and a half having devotional time and reading scripture followed by reading leadership development resources. Next Jenni shifts into her workout routine and finally showering and getting ready for the day, which takes another hour and a half. This three-hour-commitment pours into her so she comes out of it feeling engaged and ready to pour into others.
  • Dan Reiland – Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church and Coach. // Dan is a night owl and so he doesn’t get up at 5am like others may do. The core of his morning is based on exercise and prayer, and even though he’s at a stage of life where he doesn’t have small children at home, these focuses still require intentionality, especially when Dan travels. For exercise, he does the same thing each day and runs 5K seven days a week. Meanwhile for prayer, Dan’s mind runs fast and so when something pops into his head he will write it down on a 3×5 card. This enables him to clear his mind and focus on prayer and the scripture he reads. He doesn’t make it a focus to read through the bible in a year, but rather moves around through the scriptures based on what’s speaking to him at the time and couples that with deeper devotional reading by authors such as Henri Nouwen or A. W. Tozer.
  • Kadi Cole – Writer, Speaker and Consultant. // Kadi has found that the more she works on the predictability of her mornings, the more she can handle the unpredictability of her work life. So she starts working on her morning the night before by wrapping the day up and making sure things are organized. Kadi has her coffee set-up ready to go in the evening and will do a quick clean up of her space the night before so she can enter the morning not distracted by clutter or unfinished tasks. It’s very important to her that her morning starts hopeful and peaceful and so she does what she can to set herself up for that. When morning comes, she wakes up around 4:30am and will grab a coffee and a big drink of water along with spending time praying and focusing on God to get her heart right and relieve her of any anxiety or stress she might be feeling about the day. Quiet time for the first hour connects her with God and often includes reading scripture or journaling. Then she moves into family mode, making sure her teen is up and getting ready for school, and meets with her family for prayer time around 6:15am. After that a stretching program and listening to the morning news helps Kadi move into work for the day.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.